Coping with separation and divorce during Covid 19 – what are your options?
Coping with separation and divorce during Covid 19 is extremely tough but we hope by sharing some of the questions we are being asked it will help to make things a little easier if you are either in the middle of a separation or contemplating one.
Should I start or carry on with my divorce/separation?
That is a decision that depends on a number of factors. If there is domestic abuse in the home that has increased since lockdown or there are additional strains on livelihoods, then there is a need to move matters forward now. Our family solicitors are dealing with a high volume of cases where people still need, for a variety of reasons, to progress their divorce and to finalise or implement settlements. Emergency applications may still need to be made to the Courts to deal with, for example, an injunction.
There may however be certain situations where complicated finances mean that settling financial matters should be put on hold. Every case is different but if assets such as investments, pensions or companies need valuation there may be a good reason why delaying that is your better option, especially if there has been a decrease in the value of assets.
Are Court hearings still going ahead?
The short answer is yes. The courts in England have now adjusted to a remote way of working and, where possible, hearings should still go ahead. There were some problems in the first lockdown but that is starting to settle down and most hearings are now being dealt with by telephone or video conferencing. There are still cases that require face to face hearings and you can still attend Court in those circumstances. However, the Court service is overwhelmed and so cases that require intervention by a Judge are taking a long time to conclude and there are lengthy waiting times for Court hearings. It is important to consider all other options and not just to go to Court.
Can a solicitor still go through my case and provide me with advice?
Yes. Kidd Rapinet, have adapted their way of working to provide video conferencing facilities and appointments over the telephone. It is important that your case is progressed and that you are advised correctly and feel fully supported.
What other ways are there to resolve disputes?
Mediation is a great form of alternative dispute resolution. This is particularly useful now as the mediator can conduct this via video and will help you identify and clarify all matters including financial and children issues. Mediation can be helpful in restoring communication between parties and, if both parties agree, mediation settlements can be incorporated into a legally binding court order via Solicitors.
Arbitration is also possible where an independent person is asked to help resolve disputes that have arisen. Arbitration is a binding process and is quicker than Court proceedings and can be tailored for the individual client. Arbitrators are often experienced Barristers or solicitors with expertise in family matters.
What should I do next?
If you are going through separation and require legal support and assistance please call us to talk through your options and we can guide you to the next steps of the process and look at modern and forward-thinking ways to resolve matters amicably and swiftly.
For advice and support, contact Sarah Watts at Kidd Rapinet Farnham. Tel: 01252 308914 email: firstname.lastname@example.org